Hickory Nuts

In the front of the house (river side) we have a great big Hickory tree. This tree has been here forever. A doctor built this house back in the early 1970’s. When he did, he made sure to build it using the Hickory tree as the anchor. He wanted it to cast a shadow on the living space and the deck.

Well it definitely does its job and is quite beautiful. It provides shelter and shade from the sunshine in the dead of summer and a way for the squirrels to escape the charging pup when he spots them in the yard.

During the summer it was great. It gave shade and provided convenient branches for bird feeders. The birds loved the shelter.

But it also has a wicked arsenal of weapons. The nuts that fall off of the tree are pretty good size. Just under the size of a golf ball, the nuts are pretty formidable. And when they fall from the tree they explode. The outside husk explodes into 4 pieces allowing the inner nut to be exposed.

Notice how the husk gets stuck in the deck

This wouldn’t be that big of a deal except that the 4 pieces of the husk are just perfectly sized to stick in the gap between the deck boards. And they’re pointy. That means you can’t just sweep them up. And you can’t step on them because they stick you something fierce. And every single nut and each piece of its hull has to be picked up by hand.

Now it’s getting pretty late in the season. The leaves have started to change and fall off the trees. This apparently means that it’s time for the nuts to start falling off the trees as well. The few that fell over the summer were more interesting than anything else and not that big of a deal to clean up. And we appreciated having the tree.

Fast forward to the last few weeks. We’ve had a handful of windstorms the last few weeks that have been pretty fierce. One actually ripped shingles off of the roof and parsed the dead branches from every tree within a mile around (all of which landed in our yard.)

This would be all fun and games except that during the fall months you literally need a hard hat if you want to be out on the deck. The nuts come down so fast and hard that they’ve actually chased Keeper off the deck more than once. And at night it sounds as if you’re under attack as they come down, hit the roof, table or deck and explode.

So almost every day Melissa had been cleaning off the deck. Getting rid of the shells and saving the nuts. Usually just by placing them on the table on the deck.

Only 2 days later!

Well the other day we had two straight days of rain and severe winds. Because of the weather we (and by we I mean Melissa) couldn’t get out to clean the nuts and shells up. This is what it looked like after only 2 days!

The interesting thing is that the squirrels have not found the stash. We see the squirrels going all over the yard digging up nuts when there’s a plethora of freebies on the table outside

That is until the other day. In one day we had not only a squirrel visit the deck but a chipmunk as well. When Keeper spotted the chipmunk he went bolting out the door to give chase. Of course the little fella got away (although unlike the squirrels, chipmunks are not always so fortunate – sometimes they make poor decisions).

Only a portion of what Melissa has cleaned up!

The crazy thing was that the very next day, as Melissa was in the living room, that very chipmunk came back up on the deck, walked over to the sliding glass doors and actually got up on his hind legs and peered into the living room looking for the dog!

I wonder if that’s the one Keeper presented to us a few days later. Like I said… Sometimes the chipmunks make poor decisions.


Last edited by Jason on October 9, 2010 at 4:37 pm


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